In many parts of the world the rise of civilizations is often a mystery that no one could decipher. For this reason, many hypotheses and conjectures have arisen that have been accepted as “true story”, as is the case of the Iberian Peninsula.
Experts launch investigative process
For many years it was believed that the origin of the cultures that exist in Western Europe were the product of the influence of the Phoenicians and the Greeks. However, this theory was completely discarded after some scholars conducted numerous investigations at an archaeological site of the Argaric culture.
This society developed 4,000 years ago, they were first believed to be simple prehistoric, backward and barbaric communities. But in the 10th century BC, a sudden change took place when the Phoenicians began to settle in the south. How accurate is this theory? Archaeological remains reveal a very different picture.
The Argarics, a civilization of respected warriors
The company we call “El Argar”, has its beginnings in the Bronze Age, in the years 2200 and 1550 BC.. They stood out for their innovative character, both technically and socially.
Currently, we know this ancient civilization thanks to the excavations which they realized in La Almoloya and La Bastida (Murcia- Spain).
3D recreation of La Bastida, near present-day Totana (Murcia), one of the main settlements of the Argaric culture. Credit: Dani Mendez-Revives.
With regard to the Bastida, the archaeological investigation provided interesting data. For example, it was determined that he was built on top of a steep hillcovering an area of 5 hectares, hidden in the middle of some mountains.
According to the explanation of the experts, when the Bastida was in its maximum splendour, came to concentrate the largest population colony of the entire Iberian Peninsula. It is estimated that its territory covered an area of 3,000 square kilometers, with the capital home to more than a thousand people.
The excavations carried out in this area have shown that La Bastida was not just a town of a few thousand inhabitants. Rather, we are talking about a A well-established city, as evidenced by the powerful and enormous fortifications that surrounded it.
For this reason, some scholars regard it as “the only city of its kind in prehistoric Europe“. It was precisely from there that the fearsome warrior society of the Bronze Age, with its military power that colonized and conquered everything in its path, was born and spread over much of the south-east of the peninsula.
This society was governed by a warrior ruling class and hierarchized in specialized collectives. In it, there were obvious inequalities based on wealth and gender.
La Almoloya: its parallel history with La Bastida
In the archaeological excavations carried out at the filing of the Almoloya, a lot of important information could be collected. Among other things, it has been established that its history takes place in parallel with the Bastida, but with a smaller extension of land, approximately 15 times smaller.
Aerial image of eastern La Almoloya. Credit: Habitat Serea SL.
However, the strategic value – in the military field – of the Almoloya was simply exceptional. Because its geographical location allowed it to have a panoramic view over several thousand kilometers around. This factor has earned him the reputation of being “the spearhead of the military colonization campaigns of the formidable Agar warrior society“.
Over the years La Almayola become a major center of political power for the culture of He agar, just when he was in one of his best moments of expansion. Also, at the top of the hill where he was standing, you could see the tall buildings that towered over much of the area.
Curiosities of this advanced society
Some aspects of El Agar Society. Regarding their religious customs, the researchers managed to document 250 graves, which revealed that the dead were buried under the ground of their houses.
The graves are mostly individual, and in them several valuable metal objects were savedas well as clothing of varied quality.
El Argar had a clear social division, according to a study carried out by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, different funerary objects were found in the different sites. A ruling class that was buried with the best weapons and gold and silver jewelry.
Keychain found in La Almoloya. Credit: Bastida Project.
On the other hand, there was also a class of warriors, with which more conventional metal weapons were laid down. As for free people responsible for producing goods (such as farmers, breeders or craftsmen) and their funerary objects, these were simple decorative elements. It is also believed that there were serfs and slaves with limited rights. These social conditions were hereditary.
The Villena Treasure, discovered in 1963, is still the greatest work of art produced by the culture of El Argar. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
In some cases, archaeologists have found bronze and copper swords in tombs belonging to men, while jewelry and objects for textile work have been found in women’s tombs.
You might also be interested in: They discover a 5,000-year-old glass dagger in a prehistoric tomb.
Perhaps the most curious thing about the fearsome warrior society of bronze agewas the way the company was organized and the distribution of political power. In both cases, they are revolutionary models for the time, since there is nothing similar in the annals of history.
You could even say the same storage and distribution of water, carried out by means of a system very advanced engineering. As well as the establishment -by the Argaric society- of livestock and agriculture organized for edible purposes.
But the most impressive is that, no one knows at all why and how this company disappeared. Some scholars consider it very likely that environmental phenomena occurred that increased aridity on all Mediterranean coasts and reduced the size and quality of crops, generating conflict when the ruling classes wanted to hoard scarce resources causing violent epidemics, led by part of the popular classes.
Much remains to be investigated about this society and it will continue to be an exciting challenge for science to establish the true causes of its end, it only remains to hope that the excavations will allow further progress in the revelation of the truth.
References: History / El País / National Geographic.
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